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  • Cast iron pans

    Years ago, I had a set of cast iron pans with lids. 3 saucepans and 3 frying pans. This was in the days when I used oils (!!!) for cooking - and the pans got so that everything stuck - I gave them away.

    I have one little frying pan left, and since I started using home rendered lard, it has become wonderfully non-stick - ~I wanted the 6 other pans back!

    And today I was lucky enough to buy a used set of 6 pans, 3 saucepans with lids and 3 frying pans. (30 for all 6).

    Any advice on how to prepare them for use will be most welcome - I am sure they will be rusty and manky in several ways. Once prepared I shall use lard and I know they will be good - but how to get rid of rust without damaging them further is worrying me!

    (They have wooden handles so can't go in the oven I don't think....)
    Last edited by breadsauce; 05-18-2011, 09:22 AM. Reason: adding about wooden handles.....

  • #2
    Hrmmm... The best way to take all the gunk off cast iron is the cleaning cycle of the oven and a metal scouring pad. With wooden handles, it becomes a lot more difficult. Yoiu're essentially left with getting it red- hot (literally, red-hot) on a grill or (last ditch choice) your kitchen stove and then letting it cool and getting after it with a wire brush and scouring pad.
    Once you've got the gunk off, you'll need to reseason it. Take your lard/ tallow/ ghee/ whatever and apply it liberally to a warm (not so hot you roast yourself pan, all over. Put it in the oven (upside down with a cookie sheet on the lower rack) at 450- 500*F for several hours. Pull it out, use it for only greasy things for the first several months, and be nice to it.
    (There are other MUCH more precise websites on how to season your cast iron out there.)
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, steak in one hand, chocolate in the other, yelling "Holy F***, What a Ride!"
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    • #3
      Originally posted by naiadknight View Post
      (There are other MUCH more precise websites on how to season your cast iron out there.)
      Here's one!!: Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning: A Science-Based How-To

      I haven't tried the method yet myself, but I'm starting to get semi-frustrated with stuff sticking in my pans unless I use tons of grease, so the day may be coming soon.

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      • #4
        And don't ever wash them with soap/detergent or you'll remove the seasoning and have to re-season. Just wash them with very hot water and dry immediately or wipe out with a paper towel if there's nothing sticking to it.

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        • #5
          Sorry for hijacking the thread a little bit, but how do you deal with rusted cast iron pans? Mine is fine but there is a tiny bit of rust at the bottom. It's right over the letters of the Lodge logo so it's hard to get in there to scrub it off. Should I be worried about it?
          My food blog, with many PB-friendly recipes

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          • #6
            @Ajax: one potential solution is to pour coarse salt on it and scrub. Should take care of the rust. This is how I clean my pans when I'm out camping, and it's how I discourage rust.

            A good, detergent-free scouring pad should also take care of the rust. You may need to re-season, though.
            Steph
            My Primal Meanderings

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            • #7
              Ha! I have a cast iron skillet in which I burned something (using olive oil), and I had to scrub and scrub and scrub that thing to get the burnt gunk off.

              However, the other night for the first time I used the cast iron skillet using coconut oil for cooking some chicken. I didn't wash the skillet until the next morning, but I was amazed that the finish of the cooking surface seemed to be completely clean and free of baked-on gunk. I guess the coconut oil helped loosen any remaining stuff. Hallelujah, my skillet has been healed by the primal diet!!!!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by onalark View Post
                @Ajax: one potential solution is to pour coarse salt on it and scrub. Should take care of the rust. This is how I clean my pans when I'm out camping, and it's how I discourage rust.

                A good, detergent-free scouring pad should also take care of the rust. You may need to re-season, though.
                Thanks I actually use coarse salt to clean food gunk from the skillet, but I didn't know it would work for rust as well. Will give it a go!
                My food blog, with many PB-friendly recipes

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                • #9
                  Always apply some oil to that pan to keep the seasoned finish and only after you wash it with only water (any leftover bacteria feeding on that oil, isn't going to survive after a few minutes of you using the pan the next time).

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                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=yodiewan;453837]Here's one!!: Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning: A Science-Based How-To/QUOTE]

                    Thank you for the link!!! I got set of frying pans off Ebay but they are pretty gunked up (no cracks, pitting or wobble though). I read somewhere online to use sandpaper to remove the gunk and rust but I've already spent two long hours on the the smallest pan and while a good amount of gunk is off (I can now read the maker's brand) I'm nowhere to being done. Gonna give the oven cleaner method a try. Gotta get these cleaned and re-seasoned before father's day-ack!
                    See what I'm up to: The Primal Gardener

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                    • #11
                      If you want to season them in the oven, try wrapping a damp cloth around the handle and wrap aluminum foil around that, shiny side out.

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                      • #12
                        I'm hoping that the handles will sort of unscrew - I wouldn't want to do that often in case they work loose, but once to season them shouldn't hurt??

                        And I'm not sure I'm going to use flax oil - the one cast iron pan I have has come great with repeated use of organic pig lard. So I shall use that.

                        I'm fairly certain that flax oil wouldn't have been used in 19th century Britain.....!

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